So How Much Will You Spend While Cruising?
This another “piece of string” question as we all like to live, eat and entertain differently. What may seem cheap to one person could be expensive for others.
I have analysed our spending records over our 10 years afloat, taken out any personal unrelated expenditure, and tried to adjust it to today's value at the start of 2017.
Just to put it all into perspective our profile is:
- Couple aged late 50s & early 60s
- 44’ steel ketch built in 1987
- Tend to be at anchor or on passage for approx 260 days per year.
- Only visit marinas & quaysides occasionally or for short day visits
- Sail whenever we can with the engine used mostly for manoeuvering and fuel mainly on power generation, making water, heating & cooling..
- Winter marina berth for around 100 days.
- No house in UK so free to spend as we like
If your profile is different to ours you may need to increase or reduce some budget lines.
To be fair, it took 3 seasons to get our spend accurately logged and under control. At the start of each season I create a budget spreadsheet allocating money against each budget line. Then every time we spend something I keep the receipt so it can be logged against that budget line. I capture over 98% pretty accurately.
At the end of each month, I update the spreadsheet and re-allocate unspent budget as needed. It may sound over-prescriptive, but this process has worked excellently for us - always ensuring we have the money we need to enjoy ourselves without worrying about affording fixed spend items later in the year.
As a very general observation everything gets cheaper the further East you go in the Med, except perhaps yacht parts which have to be shipped in.
One last generalisation to add - unlike living ashore your spending afloat can be massively different each month especially if you get caught in an expensive marina during bad weather or have a breakage you just have to fix. ALWAYS KEEP AN EMERGENCY FUND in the background to cover these times.
Our main budget categories are:
- Yacht Insurance this will obviously vary from yacht to yacht.
- Travel to & from the yacht - usually one or two short trips back to the UK each year. Booked well in advance to save a lot if you are flexible about when to travel.
- Medical & Repatriation travel insurance while we are sailing. We take M&R only, single trip cover wrapped around our trips back to the UK so it usually lasts 6 to 10 months each trip out on the yacht. Prices rise every year as we get older, ask Bishop Skinner for a quote, they are the best we have found.
- On Board Food - includes all food cooked aboard and all drinks aboard.
- Eating Out - usually 2 dinners and 2 lunches out each week.
- Fuel - mainly diesel but also includes petrol for the dinghy and gas. Most of our diesel is used for power generation with less than 35% used for propulsion.
- Mobile comms. - we have 2 phones equipped with GeoSIM numbers. Depending upon how long you spend in each country it is possible to save money using local SIM cards but you have to tell friends your new number each time and some countries want you to have a fixed in-country address to buy the SIM.
Modern UK-SIM plans will now include EU roaming for voice & text with a small allowance for data each month so that may be the way to go in the future unless Brexit screws it up.
- WiFi SIM and Data - we do buy a new data SIM for each country to run in our MyFi hotspot dongle so we can both use it together. Some SIMs expire if you don't fund them for 6 months. Again a modern UK-SIM plan will now allow you to use your UK data allowance while roaming and if you are lucky this will be sufficient for everything you need.
- Memberships - we are members of the RYA, CA, RNLI and Equifax. The CA offshore membership fee is usually much less than the discount we receive on our winter berth for being members. Always ask the marina what they offer.
- Yacht Maintenance - to cover breakages and minor upgrades each year.
- Anti-fouling - we haul every 2 years to anti-foul. This covers haul out, cleaning, storage ashore, anti-foul paint, any new anodes, relaunch.
- Entry & Exit fees - in the EU, there are very few countries that charges another EU citizen, just for being there. Greece & Croatia are the main culprits. Greece is now launching its new fee structure for 2018 which is significantly higher. On the edges of the EU, Turkey is probably the most popular destination. It charges a fee for both entry and exit based upon your nationality and size of vessel. From 2015 they now insist on using an Agent and you may also have to purchase their Medical Insurance if intending to stay beyond 12 months.
- Yacht Berthing - this covers our occasional marina berths thru the Summer and our Winter berth for about 100 days. We always over budget this line so we can go into marinas if we are forced to by the weather. Unspent budget is then re-allocated later.
Marina & Quayside berths are often seasonal and can vary dramatically from country to country, anything from €10 to €250 per night is typical; they tend to get cheaper the further East you travel in the Med. Quite apart from not wanting to live in a yacht park, the cost is a great motivator to get anchoring.
- Personal Spend - covering our bits and pieces, clothing, trips and tours and other entertainment. We do occasionally use this to supplement other budget lines i.e. when we entertain on board or throw a party.
The figures: (corrected to 2017 values)
- Yacht Insurance: £900
- Travel: £500
- Travel Insurance: £400
- On-Board Food & Drink: £5700 (£450/month plus a bit more for Xmas)
- Eating Out: £2400 (£200/month)
- Fuel: £1500
- Mobile Comms: £600 (£50/month)
- WiFi Data SIM: £480 (£40/month)
- Memberships: £310
- Yacht Mtce: £1800
- Anti-Fouling: £600 (used as £1200 every 2 yrs)
- Entry & Exit Fees: Greece €100 (rising to €1350 in 2018). Turkey €250 in €100 out
- Yacht Berthing: £3000 (Initial Budget of £5000 but we always spend less and most of it [£2000] is spent for our winter marina berth)
- Personal Spend: £6000 (£500/month, again not all is spent every year)